Learning New Vocabulary One Morning at a Time: Skiing

It’s mid-October in Texas and the high temperature is still in the 90’s. We are anxiously awaiting some Fall weather, even going so far as to wear scarves with sleeveless tops. Apparently The Persistent Principal was longing for frigid weather because she bought a pair of skis at a yard sale to use for our morning vocabulary lessons. It’s not often that we have enough snow in our area to use skis. As a matter of fact, it is NEVER. So the skis made the PERFECT vocabulary lesson for our Prek and Kindergarten students.
The first day, she held the skis. As the kids passed, they stopped to examine them and speculate what they could be. Most of the students called them skates. Only a handful called them by their correct name. This is always our favorite day: Day 1. We get to see what the kids know and how they problem solve verbally until they dig up the term they are looking for from their little inexperienced lexicons.
To help them find the word, we may give them a beginning sound or a word that rhymes. We ask them questions like, “Where would you use them? Have you ever seen them? What goes with them?”
We let them explore the skis and speculate what they were used for by placing them on the floor. EVERY SINGLE KID, EVERY SINGLE DAY, wanted to step into these things. They LOVED it!
The next day, it just HAD to be more realistic if we were going to get more language out of them. So with the help and guidance of The Canny Counselor, I created a mountain range, complete with snow and a faux timber line. We needed visual supports to give them more to talk about. A scarf was added to the list of vocabulary items as well!
Now when we asked the “Where” and “What” questions, the kids were able to use the visuals to answer our questions successfully and confidently. Some example questions we asked were: “Where do you ski? What is on the mountain? What grows on the mountain? Where are the trees? Where is the snow? Why do you need a scarf? Why don’t we ski here?”
We used words like hot/cold, high/low, up/down, steep, and slope. More importantly the kids used the same words because we asked them questions that lead to using those words.
In my opinion, the best part of this lesson was adding the goggles. After they verbally differentiated between glasses and goggles, they answered such questions as “Why do we need goggles? What do the goggles protect?” The goggles just added so much more excitement to their skiing adventure.
The Canny Counselor and I had to model the goggles for you.

So the week ended with everyone having a chance to join in on our skiing adventure, full of knowledge, vocabulary and new experiences…… or so we thought……

As I entered Monday morning, The Persistent Principal had brought yet ANOTHER word to add to our vocabulary which meant more comparisons (narrow/wide, short/long)….and I’m really not sure where else we are going with this one!

We honestly just take it ONE MORNING AT A TIME!



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